Prologue to Afterword


I’ve been slower to post here lately. I thought it was just a symptom of life’s relentless pace. The more I think on it, though, it seems the nature of the blog has shifted, or maybe I have. Initially, the writing was primarily an outlet for me, a coping and processing mechanism, and only secondarily about the audience. You may have noticed a lot of my posts aren’t that readable or digestible and don’t seem like they’ve been edited in any form or fashion (sorry!).

I don’t actually feel badly about this (sorry again!). The way I am is the way I grieve; I’m too fascinated with my own words and self-detrimentally prolix. Also, the way I’ve been writing has been organic to what I’m going through – lots of heavy emotional lifting and not necessarily the greatest amount of clarity; function over form.

But the recent luff in my writing prompted me to think about my evolving grief and the blog’s place in that. I wondered initially if I should just stop posting altogether. I’m pretty sure some of those who know and care about me are secretly hoping I will, if only so they don’t have to get through any more long, turgid prose-filled posts in order to say they read them when I corner them at parties (I am making my Xmas list according to who passed that test!).

In order to disappoint those people, I have decided against that option! Just kidding. Sorta. I’m continuing in part because writing has been a welcome and needed outlet and extra-curricular activity that I can do by myself most anywhere I am, at a time when I have far too few nourishing activities in my mental life.

But I decided if I’m going to continue the blog needs to evolve along with my situation. Practically speaking this means more focus more on presentation and palatability. You know, the “reader.” No matter how few of you there are, you really do all matter to me. So, the following changes are in store:

1. I have already switched over to a WordPress platform that I hope will help me customize and make the blog nicer to look at; and I’m going to spend some time actually getting to know how to use the available tools;

2. I’m going to limit the length of my posts. I know you’ll say “but we have learned that more John = always better!” Keep an open mind; I’m going to try this “quality over quantity” approach and just SEE how it works;

3. I am going to work harder at editing myself – not just lengthwise, but to make sure that my writing isn’t just a reflection of my emotional state at the moment, but a contribution to the conversation about loss, grief, survival, etc. that’s helpful to readers. Ideally, I’d like to include as much practical stuff as possible in the posts, so that someone reading them feels like they take something away other than my idiosyncrasies – not that those aren’t AWESOME (jazz hands!);

4. I’m changing the name of the blog from Post-Postmortem (which I find clever and apt, but which I’m pretty sure Nina would say is clunky and, well, Latin) to “Afterword,” which is both the actual contribution I made to Nina’s book and also evocative of the place that I’m in – the ever afterward, all the time after loss. It’s also shorter and sounds better, so there’s that.

I hope you’ll continue to read and that my approach will evolve to meet my goals. If not, well, there goes all that blogging money the boys have been counting on. Sigh. But looky here: barely 600 words. It’s a start!

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